Sergio Martinez came away with a UD win, and Zab Judah lost a UD, but they both had similar problems. Neither southpaw dealt properly with their orthodox opponents’ right hands, but for different reasons. The difference in victory versus defeat for Murray and Garcia was Murray got started too late. He had to do too much catching up.
Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez also had an excuse. He suffered a broken left hand early in the fight, which hampered him greatly in defending against Muray’s right. Zab had no such excuse. Zab allowed Garcia to throw wild, looping powerful right hands without consequences. Everyone watching knew the punch was coming, yet Zab did nothing to stop them. Zab could have and should have beat Garcia to the punch, as the shots to his body were telegraphed. Instead, he ducked into them, or slid straight back two steps instead of one hopes of avoiding the shots. Neither tactic worked, and Garcia had a field day blasting away.
Sergio usually is a master at timing his opponents punches, and then beating them to the punch. With Murray, he wasn’t having his usual success. Murray’s problem was he started too late, and then let “Maravilla” steal the last round from him. In addition, Murray has good argument about deserving credit for a second knockdown in the tenth. It’s a safe bet that if things had been reversed, and the referee didn’t award Sergio a knockdown, the ref probably wouldn’t have safely made it out of the arena.
Getting back to Sergio’s failure to deal with the right hand as well as he usually does, there’s the problem with the broken left hand. Undoubtedly it hampered his performance. However, fighters like Sergio depend greatly on their speed and exceptional reflexes, and athleticism. Fighters such as Sergio are considered stylists and not technically sound fighters. They don’t do things the way they’re supposed to be done, but when in their prime, they get away with it because of their exceptional physical skills. Broken hand or no broken hand, Sergio wasn’t able to time Murray’s right hand. His reflexes seemed off.
At 38, does that mean “Maravilla’s” reflexes slowing down a bit? Maybe, but credit should be given to Murray too. Unlike Garcia, he wasn’t winding up with power punches. There was no telegraphing. Murray threw many short, straight shots with no wind up. He doubled and even tripled up with short follow up shots as well that gave Sergio a lot of trouble. Yet, Sergio still retaliated, regardless of the broken hand.
On the other hand, Zab shouldn’t have had the same problem reading Garcia’s right hands. Zab had the speed advantage, but didn’t use it. Instead, too often he backed up in a straight line, failing to release his left, which he could have done in at lease one of two ways. Garcia admitted Zab took away his jab, so Zab should have taken advantage of that success by timing Garcia’s wind up right, and let him run right into his short, straight left. Or, he could have done a snap away, moving back just enough to cause the punch to fall short, and then snapping back in with his own left.
Instead, he did nothing, and let Garcia continually “tee off” on him as much as he wanted. Zab failed to use his speed and power to outbox a predictable fighter. He paid the price by losing round after round. When it became obvious he needed something big to happen in his favor, he just wasn’t willing to take the risk to make it happen. Whereas Sergio demonstrated his championship qualities. He fought hard in the Twelfth and final round to win it convincingly. That obviously impressed the judges. They witnessed a champion willing to start in charge, overcome adversity, and end in charge. Zab did neither and paid the price.